ULFA signs cease-fire with India

Sept. 3, 2011 at 10:01 PM
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NEW DELHI, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- The militant separatist organization United Liberation Front of Asom signed a cease-fire with the Assam state and Indian governments Saturday, officials said.

ULFA has been fighting for 32 years to secure independence for the northeastern region.

The Hindustan Times reported comes just ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Bangladesh Tuesday and Wednesday. The Bangladesh government has been accused by India of protecting the insurgents, the Times said.

The Assam Times reported Finance Secretary Chitraban Hazarika, Foreign Secretary Sashadhar Chaudhury and Deputy Commander in Chief Raju Baruah signed the pact on behalf of ULFA. The Home Ministry's joint secretary for the northeast, Sambhu Singh, represented the central government and state Home Commissioner Jishnu Baruah signed for the Assam government.

A government release said ULFA has agreed to reject violence and work to resolve its issues with the government. However, a final solution to the decades-long dispute had yet to be reached, the Hindustan Times said.

"The first round spells out the road to political dialogue," Singh said.

Choudhury said the militants would wait to see how the talks unfold before agreeing to give up their arms.

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